To the surprise of many of the Labor faithful, and indeed to the surprise and delight of many people of faith, Prime Minister Julia Gillard revealed to the nation this week that she is a “cultural traditionalist.”
Ms Gillard said she was raised in “a quite conservative family” in Adelaide, and her parents instilled in her values of politeness, thrift, fortitude, duty and diligence.
On key social issues, Ms Gillard’s personal stance is far from progressive, and far from the Greens’ agenda.
On same sex marriage, she takes a conservative view “because of the way our society is, and how we got here.” On euthanasia, she says she has never been satisfied that policy proposals from pro-euthanasia advocates had enough safeguards.
And she wants all Australians to better understand the Bible, arguing that the biblical stories are foundational to Western literature and have shaped our culture.
Of course, people on both sides of the political divide are justifiably suspicious of the rationale for these new revelations. We shall have to wait and see how this plays out in Parliament, and at the Labor National Conference.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 27 March 2011.
Theologian, researcher, teacher, writer, foodie, husband, dad. Works at Moore Theological College.